D.A.’s Office Launches Youth Basketball League Funded by Drug-Bust Money

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Just a couple of weeks after State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh announced a new basketball program operated by the Police Athletic League at the Campos Plaza housing complex, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has announced that it is teaming with P.A.L., the police department, and the D.E.A. to bring a similar program to the Henry Street Settlement’s Boys & Girls Republic at 888 East Sixth Street next month.

At a Community Board 3 meeting Tuesday night, Linda Jones-Janneh of the District Attorney’s Community Affairs Unit announced that the Pro Hoops L.E.S. Free Basketball Training Camp would start Jan. 6, and would include two Friday evening sessions for boys (one for ages 12 to 14, the other for ages 15 to 19) and a Saturday evening session for girls aged 15 to 19. The program will run through Feb. 25.

Pro Hoops was piloted in Harlem in the fall; after being deemed successful in keeping teens off the street during peak crime periods, it was recently expanded to a winter session serving 80 participants. The Harlem program uses money forfeited during drug arrests to hire trainers from Pro Hoops NYC – including guests from the N.Y.P.D. and D.E.A. – to instruct youngsters at the P.A.L. Harlem Center at 441 Manhattan Avenue.

The Teen Impact Center at Campos Plaza was launched at the housing complex’s community center at 611 East 13th Street just days before a shooting outside of the center on Dec. 10. At a Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday, precinct commander Kenneth Lehr said that there had been no arrests in connection with the shooting. Among those signed up for the program at Campos Plaza is a brother of Donovan Salgado, the 17-year-old who was killed near the complex in October. A volunteer for the program told The Local that in addition to basketball tournaments, the program would include workshops and discussion groups about topics such as job skills and responsibility.

For more information on the L.E.S. training camp, contact Leonor Colon at (212) 686-8888, Ext. 10, or lcolon@henrystreet.org.